Kentucky's nightmare scenario occurred two minutes into the second half Sunday when standout freshman Anthony Davis collided with Baylor's Perry Jones III going to the rim and writhed on the ground in pain clutching his left knee.
It was scary. It was depressing. It was ... a false alarm.
Davis twice received treatment on the knee but returned to a loud ovation from the pro-Kentucky crowd and played virtually the entire second half of the Wildcats' 82-70 victory over Baylor. The national player of the year candidate didn't move as effortlessly as normal but finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds, telling reporters after the game that he was "fine."
"I just bumped knees with Perry Jones, and it started hurting real bad," Davis said. "But I knew my team needed me to play. I wasn't going to sit out, especially with a trip to the Final Four (at stake), and all of us want to go to the Final Four."
The official diagnosis for Davis was a left knee contusion, an injury unlikely to keep him out of practice this week let alone next weekend's Final Four matchup with Louisville. When Kentucky coach John Calipari realized Davis had only bumped knees and wasn't more seriously injured, he told CBS' Jim Nantz that he joked to the freshman, "Get up, mama's boy."
In addition to the obvious ramifications for Kentucky's title hopes, the fact that the future No. 1 pick in the NBA draft is not seriously injured is good for the sport. The NCAA tournament already lost some of its star power when North Carolina point guard Kendall Marshall fractured his right wrist and Syracuse center Fab Melo was ruled ineligible for the postseason.
Davis remains the most important player to Kentucky's quest to win its first national championship in 14 years because of his blossoming offensive game and his game-changing interior defense.
He was healthy enough to climb the ladder to cut down a piece of net at the Georgia Dome after Sunday's game. That means Kentucky's chances of repeating that scene eight days from now in New Orleans remain intact.
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